web analytics
May 29, 2015 / 11 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

God at the Core


Rabbi Avi Weiss

Rabbi Avi Weiss
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Why is the construction of the Mishkan juxtaposed with Shabbat in the beginning of this week’s portion?

When God created the world he unleashed His unlimited power to create all forms of existence – inanimate, vegetable, animal and human.

God, however, purposefully performed His task in an incomplete manner. The last word of the creation story is la’asot, to do (Genesis 2:3). Here, God asks that we complete creation and in partnership with Him redeem the world.

Perhaps the greatest manifestation of human creativity in the Torah is the building of the Mishkan, which required human mastery over every creation. For example: gold was required to construct the Ark; vegetables were used for the dye needed to color parts of the Tabernacle; animal skin was used to cover the Tabernacle – and, of course, human interaction was essential to coordinate a building venture of this magnitude.

Nechama Leibowitz points out that the same words describing God’s completion of creation (va‑yechal, vayar, ve‑hinei, va‑yevarech, Genesis 1:31, 2:2‑3) are also used to describe the completion of the Mishkan (va‑yechal, vayar, ve‑hinei, va‑yevarech, Exodus 39:43, 40:33).

In the course of becoming so successful, however, human beings are in danger of forgetting that God is the source of our creativity. Hence the laws of Shabbat would have us refrain from activities that indicate our mastery over the world. In this way, we assert the centrality of God.

The first eleven of the 39 categories of prohibited work on Shabbat deal with the vegetable world (leading up to the baking prohibition). The next twenty-three deal with animal life (leading up to sewing and writing). And the next four deal with the inanimate (building). In withdrawing from each of these endeavors we acknowledge God as the Supreme Master over nature. The final category, the prohibition against carrying, leads to the understanding that even in the social sphere (carrying is a symbol of human interaction), God is in ultimate control. (See Mishnah Shabbat 7:2)

Thus the juxtaposition of Shabbat to Mishkan – to teach that even the Mishkan could not be built on the Sabbath. A reminder that God is at the core of all existence.

About the Author: Rabbi Avi Weiss is founder and president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and senior rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “God at the Core”

  1. I use to marvel at our imaginations, not seeing how most of what we create isn't all that new. It is amazing how much of what we invent is inspired by the natural world. It's also a bit odd to think that we can obtain patents (ownership) for concepts and things that have existed longer than us.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Israel Envisions Regional Cooperation with Arab Nations
Latest Judaism Stories
Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

Why did so many of our great sages from the Rambam to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein live outside Israel?

Daf-Yomi-logo

Casting A Doubt
‘Shall We Say [They] Are Not Valid?’
(Nedarim 5a-7a)

Lessons-in-Emunah-new

I was about six years old at the time and recall that very special occasion so well.

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Why was Samson singled out as the only Shofet required to be a nazir from cradle to grave?

“What do you mean?” asked the secretary. “We already issued a ruling and closed the case.”

Tosafos suggests several answers as to how a minor can own an item, m’d’Oraisa.

This week’s video discusses the important connection between the Priestly Blessing and parenting.

Many of us simply don’t get the need for the Torah to list the exact same gift offering, 12 times!

There is a great debate as to whether this story actually took place or is simply a metaphor, a prophetic vision shown to Hoshea by Hashem.

Every person is presented with moments when he/she must make difficult decisions about how to proceed.

One does not necessarily share the opinions of one’s brother. One may disapprove of his actions, values, and/or beliefs. However, with brothers there is a bond of love and caring that transcends all differences.

This Shavuot let’s give G-d a gift too: Let’s make this year different by doing just 1 more mitzvah

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if […]

God and the divine origin of His Torah are facts even though we do not fully comprehend them.

More Articles from Rabbi Avi Weiss
Rabbi Avi Weiss

The census focused on the individual, proving each is created as irreplaceable, unique images of God

View of the Temple Mount from Mount of Olives

Torah hints to a divided Jerusalem that will become a city without walls forever united

While Judaism believes the hereafter is of important status, it takes a back seat to this world.

Myth that niddah=dirty stopped many women from accepting laws of family purity and must be shattered

Poland’s great Jewish cities where Jewish life had once flourished and thrived, were now desolate

Kashrut reminds us that in the end, God is the arbiter of right and wrong.

Unless ritual is introduced, the Shoah will be remembered as a footnote in history in 100 years

Dayenu is not a song of complaint; it is rather a song of thanksgiving to God.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/god-at-the-core/2014/02/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: